Language, Culture, Human Brain, and Consciousness

Language, Culture, Human Brain, and Consciousness

Human being are social creatures. A large part of brain/mind is for social functions. In a foreign land, because of the language barrier, those functions are rarely carried out, thus those parts of brain rarely exercised, and might go into hibernation for a long time.

Even foreigners/immigrants choose to stay within their ethnic communities oversea, these communities don’t form a large society at all, thus lack many social functions the brain needs to develop itself socially.

As a foreigner, s/he cannot feel any more those things s/he used to feel strongly. S/he cannot continue the social learning/development of the brain/consciousness, thus cut off from the life path s/he has been on (whether s/he is consciously aware of it or not).

Unless the foreigner can fully embrace the new culture and overcome the language barrier, thus get in touch with those collective social functions (attributes of the social space), the foreigner cannot overcome herself/himself and continue her/his growth or worse, s/he gradually dies socially.

Yes, the brain needs to be used socially, thus many aspects of it can develop as a space. These strong feelings, after all, are experience of brain of the social space. For example, the experience of no thinking and just experiencing.

With the mother culture, the brain develops in an organic way as the person grows. After the language development stage, the brain starts to develop socially. Compared to the brain development during the language acquiring stage, which happens naturally and most people or all people are able to accomplish without a problem, this stage of brain social development takes extraordinary individual efforts, and most people are not able to develop this stage consciously and completely.  The compulsory schooling and various other crowd control techniques are adopted by the ruling class to intentionally restrain its development and thus for many many people, this stage of brain development is not very much started and thus they stay as very dependent and immature people.



Filed under Chan/Zen, Foreign Experience, unschooling

5 responses to “Language, Culture, Human Brain, and Consciousness

  1. Jen.

    Then the difficulty with social growth also applies to non-foreigners though I can understand if foreigners have even greater difficulty. I definitely believe that foreigners should open their mind to the beauty and ugliness that is in every culture, including their own, but many do not want to explore this new world they are now immersed in. There is this fear, I think, that if they were to embrace a new culture, they would lose their identity. It goes back to Ethan’s point about how we think our identity is solid, instead of plastic, ever-changing and mutable. They don’t recognize that just the fact that they are now living in a different country has already changed their identity in some way because now, instead of just saying that they are simply a national of their mother country, they are also an ex-pat in this foreign one. So the social growth problem for foreigners goes beyond how we are schooled, but I think it is simply human nature to want to grasp tightly to things that we want to believe are absolute truths. I think it is human nature to want to be grounded in our own identity. I do think schools have a role in shaping our way of thinking, but also our way of thinking shapes how we are schooled. If a foreign student refuses to take classes that will broaden their cultural horizons, or refuses to absorb material that will open their minds, there is little an educator can do with them, and their closed-minded attitude goes beyond their previous educational training, with greater influences taken from their culture and culture identity. Anyways, this can be a big topic so I’ll stop here!

  2. David

    Just a quick question to settle an arguement. If someone leaves there mother country at the age of 6 to 8 and moves to another country where they speak a completely different langauge for the next 15 years when they return to there home country will they be able to speak their mother toungue, considering they never spoke their mother language the whole time they were living overseas.

  3. Jen, I agree with what you said. Good point.

  4. To David: I don’t know if they will forget their mother toungue, considering the very yourng age when they left their mother culture and never spoke its langage again. Generally speaking, a 6 or 8 years old’s language is not very developed. Although a kid that age can speak a lot, but I think a lot of words are not learned yet and a lot of topics (for example, finance and stock market words) haven’t been touched on yet. So the first stage of brain development in the mother culutre, e.g. the langage development stage, is not completed. Not even mention the social development stage of the brain. That 6 or 8 years old’s brain hasn’t been through the social development in the mother culture at all. Thus the mother culture is probably very new to them when they go back 15 years later.

    However, if their mother toungue is not totally forgotten and they find it no problem to talk to people generally, then without the language barrier, it should be very easy for them to finish the language development stage and continue on the social development stage of the brain.

    Anyhow, I don’t have this kind of experience, and haven’t have a chance to check this up with any people who have been through this kind of experience. What I said here is mostly a guess based on what I know. Hope this will be a little helpful to you. And I think you can find people who have this kind of experience to find out whether this is true or not.

  5. Pingback: Exercise your consciousness « A hacker of the Internet for the purpose of growth, fun, and creation

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