What Is Language?



JASON SILVA: So Kevin Kelly, the co-founder of Wired Magazine,

has this wonderful idea about how the emergence of language

was actually the first singularity, right?

In other words, the world on the other side of that line,

after language emerged, would have

been unimaginable to the creatures

standing on the previous, on the other side of that line, right?

Trying to explain the nuances of a Shakespearean sonnet,

to an ape, are simply unimaginable.


This is inconceivable, we simply lacked the wetware, right?

So language.

What is language?

Kevin Kelly says it's a tool that

allows the mind to know what it's thinking, right?

It turned a feral mind into a tool

that could now think with purpose and deliberation,


Language allowed us to create a virtual world in our heads,

and pull the present forward to meet that.

The ability to design, to envision, to plan, to imagineer

was the natural consequence to the emergence of language.

Again, a tool that allows the mind

to know what it's thinking, right?

Language has to do with sentience,

before language, there was no self-awareness,

there was no self consciousness, right?

Language came about as a kind of vortex of self-mirroring.


Language and self-awareness is kind of

like plugging a video camera into the TV,

aiming it at the TV, and then seeing the engulfing infinity,


The recursive infinity loop that gets

formed, and-- and, I don't know, I

find that idea to be astonishing.

And when you really think of how it transformed

the mental operating system, right, you

can see why Kelly would call it the first singularity.