Language is the humans’ link to the world and to reality. Without a shared system of communication, we wouldn’t be able to grasp what we see, what we experience, and what we feel. We wouldn’t be able to explain what we believe to be reality. But what exactly is reality? How can we know what is real and what is not?
We believe that everything we see is real, but people sometimes or actually always see different things. Nothing is always exactly the same in two different people’s minds because everyone experiences the world through their own eyes, through their own consciousness, through their own ideals, beliefs, and truths. That means that all events take place in the mind, and whatever happens somewhat similarly in everyone’s mind becomes (a) reality. If someone thinks he can fly and at the same time someone else thinks he sees that someone fly, it is really happening.
So what does this mean for our understanding of reality? To me, it means that everything and simultaneously nothing is or can be real. Everything we know, or we think we know about anything, is through our own thinking. Reality happens in our minds and is therefore completely individual and unique. There is no ultimate reality that exists outside each person’s consciousness.
And if we wouldn’t have language, we wouldn’t even be able to come to a shared opinion of what we believe to be real. Language is our access to a world that is never completely accessible to us but would not be accessible to us at all without language. And every language describes the world a little differently, in every language, a different understanding of time and reality is reflected, often imperceptibly. Learning a new language, making it one’s own in such a way that it functions unconsciously, that one speaks it without thinking, thinks and dreams in it, therefore also means creating a new access to the world, and not least, seeing oneself differently. That’s what I love so much about learning different languages, and why I think it is so important to travel and come in contact with different cultures and languages. It opens up your mind and your view of the world, enables you to get different perspectives on your experiences and beliefs, and connects you further to the world and to the people that live in it.