|10-14-2016, 12:50 PM||#1|
Joined: Jun 2014
The Advent of the Universal Auxiliary Language
A thing I wrote for fun
The Fulfilment of Prophecy, the Advent of the Universal Auxiliary Language
This essay is written primarily for fun, to explore a love of religion, technology, prophecy, and unconventional thinking. Its premise and conclusions are proposed primarily to provoke thinking out of the box and discourse. The author does not propose that this is unquestionably the fulfilment of prophecy, but merely posits instead that this might be the fulfilment of a prophecy, and that this is, overall, a fun thing to ponder on.
In the book Divine Philosophy, `Abdu'l-Bahá, the leader of the Baha’i Faith from 1892 until his death in 1921, wrote on the subject of an auxiliary language that would be developed to enable universal communication:
“A mutual language will become the mightiest means toward universal progress, for it will cement the east and the west. It will make the world one home and become the divine impulse for human advancement. It will upraise the standard of oneness of the world of humanity and make the earth a universal commonwealth. It will create love between the children of men and good fellowship between the various creeds.” – Divine Philosophy, p. 142.
The writing further explains the prophecies written by the Baha’i prophet, Bahá'u'lláh, who wrote of the coming of a universal language. It details the almost miraculous, transformative effect that this language will have, unifying the world as “one home” and becoming the driving force of human advancement. It will spread oneness, love, understanding, and fellowship between all peoples, races, and creeds. It is, most certainly, a prophecy to look forward too! It is a great promise of miraculous things to come!
But what if this prophecy has already been fulfilled? What if we already have this language uniting all mankind? What if we are already beginning to see its transformative effects on humanity? What if this miraculous language already exists, and we simply do not know it yet?
In regards to this prophecy, one language in particular is usually put forward as a candidate: Esperanto. The reasoning behind this candidate, on the face of it, seems to be sound. Esperanto is a constructed language created by L.L. Zamenhof in the 1870’s. He lived at the same time as Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá, and created the language with the intent that it would become a universal language that would unite all people. `Abdu'l-Bahá and the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, Shoghi Effendi, both spoke highly of the language project, and encouraged Baha’is to study it. However, neither man ever claimed that Esperanto was the prophesied language. In fact, `Abdu'l-Bahá confirmed that it is not the prophesied language, stating in a speech in London that “The love and effort put into Esperanto will not be lost, but no one person can construct a Universal Language.” He also outlined a few uncommon, specific attributes the prophesized language would posses, saying that “[it] will be governed by the simplest rules, and there will be no exceptions, neither will there be gender, nor extra and silent letters. Everything indicated will have but one name.” Languages devoid of gender are rare, but exist. But the final requirement, “Everything indicated will have but one name” is practically unknown to human languages in general. A language completely devoid of all synonyms is required to be the language of this prophecy.
These uncommon requirements possibly explain an aspect of this future language mentioned in the writings. This new language will not supplant the existing languages, but will be taught alongside these languages. `Abdu'l-Bahá specifies in Divine Philosophy that both a nation’s “mother tongue” and the prophesized language will be taught alongside one another in future schools.
“In order to facilitate complete understanding between all people, a universal auxiliary language will be adopted and in the schools of the future two languages will be taught — the mother tongue and this international auxiliary tongue.” Divine Philosophy, p. 84.
Preserving the mother tongues makes sense given the nature of this auxiliary language. The prophesized language is, according to `Abdu'l-Bahá, a very technical language, utilitarian and efficient in composition. It would be a language that is very precise in defining things, but would lack the more artistic aspects afforded to human languages by the existence of synonyms. Poetry, rhyming, wordplay, and associated arts would be exceedingly difficult in the prophesied language. Synonyms in general allow for artists to exchange one word for another of similar meaning, based on the aesthetic value of the words themselves, and find the combination of words that work best on an artistic basis. Very poetic languages like Arabic are the exact opposite of this prophesied language. Thus, for artistic purposes, one would expect mankind to preserve the more poetic languages alongside this very technical, prophesied language. Each language would be used for its own unique purposes, one used for facilitating interpersonal communication, the other used for artistic expression.
It is worth noting that of humanity’s spoken languages, practically no language is devoid of synonyms. This makes one area of the prophecy a bit odd, as Bahá'u'lláh writes:
“[Either] choose one of the existing tongues, or to originate a new one, and in like manner to adopt a common script, teaching these to the children in all the schools of the world, that the world may become even as one land and one home.” -Tablet of Ishráqát
The choice presented in this prophecy is to originate a new language to serve this purpose, or to select one of the existing languages. This would, along with `Abdu'l-Bahá’s description of the prophesied language, seem to imply that such languages, technical and devoid of synonyms, will exist at the time this prophecy is fulfilled.
`Abdu'l-Bahá further specifies that this language will be chosen or developed by an international council, writing in Divine Philosophy “the matter [of determining the universal auxiliary language] is to be determined by a confederation met for the purpose which shall represent all tribes and nations.” Thus, in order for a language to be considered the language referred to by this prophecy, an international council will have to be the driving force behind this language.
The prophesied language must also facilitate the communication of information between all countries, both in the East and the West. It must allow Easterners to be informed of the events happening in the West, and must allow the Westerners to be informed of the events happening in the East. It must bring the world together and unite the whole of the world. `Abdu'l-Bahá explains all this in a speech he gave in Paris, 1913, stating
“Generally speaking, the whole people of the Orient are not fully informed of events in the West, neither can the Westerners put themselves in sympathetic touch with the Easterners; their thoughts are enclosed in a casket—the international language will be the master key to open it. Were we in possession of a universal language, the Western books could easily be translated into that language, and the Eastern peoples be informed of their contents. In the same way the books of the East could be translated into that language for the benefit of the people in the West. The greatest means of progress towards the union of East and West will be a common language. It will make the whole world one home and become the strongest impulse for human advancement. It will upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity. It will make the earth one universal commonwealth. It will be the cause of love between the children of men. It will cause good fellowship between the various races.” -`Abdu'l-Bahá
It is important to note that this is a lot to ask of a language. Certainly, a universal language would help mankind communicate events across the world, but how could a language alone cause all of mankind to become “fully informed” of events happening on the other side of the world? This seems to indicate that this language is somewhat greater than the languages we currently speak.
The most difficult requirement of this language, however, is that it must be able to communicate the contents of every book, regardless of the book’s original language. On the face of the matter, translating books doesn’t at first seem like much of a problem. However, this presents a unique challenge. How could a language without synonyms possibly accurately convey a book of poetry? Translating poetry is a unique challenge, trying to preserve both the meaning of the words with their original cadence and aesthetic. Translators of poetry are almost reliant on synonyms to translate the poem in totality.
According to all available sources outlined above, in total, this language must be chosen or created by an international committee, must contain no gendered words, must contain no synonyms, will not supplant existing languages but will be used alongside them, must unite the world in a universal commonwealth, must communicate the thoughts of people all around the world amongst one another, must be able to facilitate communication of world events to all the world’s people, must be able to convey the contents of any book, and must promote the oneness of mankind. My word, that is one powerful language! It seems like it would be difficult for any language to meet those hefty requirements!
So let’s ask the question no one else seems to have asked. Is there any language out there right now that fulfills these requirements?
There is one. If you are reading this essay in its original format, you are, perhaps without realizing it, relying on this language right now. This language is called Hyper Text Markup Language, or HTML, and it is the language that creates websites. It is the language upon which the internet is built.
This language is certainly not what anyone was expecting, it is a language used by machines to store and format websites online, and allow other people to view those websites and web pages. Nevertheless, it is indeed a language, and it seems to fulfill the requirements of the universal auxiliary language posited by Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá.
First, as to the composition of the language. As outlined above, `Abdu'l-Bahá states it be governed by simple rules, must have no gendered words and no synonyms. The words, or tags, in HTML are used to build a website. These tags refer to areas on the screen, images, blocks of text, hyperlinks, or other elements that appear on the webpage. Since everything HTML refers to is genderless, the tags that HTML makes use of are not gendered. There are furthermore, no synonyms within HTML, by far one of the trickiest requirements of the international auxiliary language. If the web designer wishes to describe an image in html, they must make use of the “<img>” tag. This term, and only this term, can create an object with the properties of an image on a website. Unlike the English language, if the web designer wishes to describe how wide a particular thing is, the web designer must use the term “width”. Unlike the English language, the HTML writer cannot use other terms like “length” or “berth”, the only term available to them is “width”. The language itself is governed by simple, logical rules, as are most technical and computer languages.
As Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá both state, the international auxiliary language must be created or adopted by an international committee, made up of representatives from all over the world. Does HTML fit this pattern as well? HTML and the standards of the language are maintained by an organization known as the World Wide Web Consortium, abbreviated as W3C. The organization was founded by Tim Berners-Lee, who is the man responsible for the existence of the World Wide Web. The W3C is an organization made up of 408 different member organizations from all around the world. They work together to determine the standards and protocols of HTML. The W3C is thus an international committee that works to develop HTML and international standards on the language’s use. The prophetic requirement of an international committee is met by HTML.
Additionally, `Abdu'l-Bahá outlines that the language is to be taught alongside existing languages. This implies that the international auxiliary language will not supplant preexisting languages. Since HTML is a language interpreted by computers, and is used for the specification and description of websites, it has a clear, different purpose than our other extant languages. Thus HTML will not and, in fact, cannot supplant the “mother tongues” but functions alongside them.
So HTML appears to have the properties we would expect the international auxiliary language to have, but does it also have the effects of the international auxiliary language?
According to `Abdu'l-Bahá, the international auxiliary language must “be the master key to open” the thoughts of the people of the East to the people of the West, and the thoughts of the people of the West to the people of the East. HTML, as the basis for the World Wide Web, has done more than any other language to allow communication between people throughout the world. A person may easily use this language to communicate their thoughts to a person located on the exact opposite end of the world. With open access to the internet, people can become greatly informed of events happening around the world. HTML brings us vastly increased worldwide communication and vastly increased awareness of events outside of our own neighborhood, both of which are prophesied effects of the international auxiliary language.
The contents of the books of the world must be accessible by all peoples through the international auxiliary language, which is something HTML seems to do better than other language. Not only can it serve to store translations of texts, it can store the original sound and cadence of the original texts as well. After all, the meaning of the words of a book like the Qu’ran is only one dimension of the book, the sound and poetry of the book in its original language can also be conveyed through HTML, as well as the contents of the book and its meanings. The internet is working to facilitate translation between all languages as well, and while our early translation algorithms are notably and often humorously imperfect, progress in online translation software is promising, and already we can use services granted to us through HTML to discern the meanings of many worldwide writings regardless of their original language.
The final requirements of this language left to be fulfilled is that this language must promote the oneness of mankind, and must unite the world in a universal commonwealth. Obviously, this last requirement has not yet come about about as we are not yet in a “universal commonwealth”, so it is impossible to state with certainty that this language fulfills every prophecy and prediction given about the universal auxiliary language. But we can still look to examine whether or not HTML promotes the oneness of mankind and if it is on track to lead to universal commonwealth.
In Paris, 1913, `Abdu'l-Bahá pinpointed the cause of division between mankind, stating “misunderstandings keep people from mutual association”, and certainly examining history shows such an idea to be true. Ignorance of another person’s thoughts, feelings, opinions, and motives make it easier to dismiss and demonize them as “evil”, which prevents us both from empathizing with them and viewing ourselves in unity with other people. The Internet, like no other tool, has enabled us to almost instantly learn the way other people think, what their opinions and motives are, what events they have faced, and what drives them as humans. With a tool that lets us into the minds of people from all around the world, there isn’t a doubt that it is the most powerful tool we have for combatting misunderstanding in the current day.
In connecting us all, then, it promotes the oneness of mankind in that we can easily understand the opinions of someone from another background, nation, or religion with a simple search. So does this put us on track for a universal commonwealth? It would seem to be the case. This powerful communication tool lets us communicate with people all around the world in ways unthinkable only a short time ago. What better to facilitate a worldwide commonwealth than a communication network that can keep us all informed on events all throughout the planet?
So in total, HTML was created and is maintained by an international committee, the W3C, it contains no gendered words nor synonyms, it cannot supplant existing languages simply by the fact it is used in a much different way, it communicates the thoughts of people all around the world, it facilitates communication of world events to all people, it can convey the contents of any book, even poetry, it promotes the oneness of mankind, and it could very well pave the way to unite the world in a universal commonwealth. To reiterate the first paragraph, this isn’t to claim definitively that HTML is this promised language, but based on every requirement but one (one that requires events yet to happen), HTML neatly fits into what is expected, and the one requirement it doesn’t yet fit could easily be brought about thanks to this language in the future. It’s identity as the universal auxiliary language is not definite, but HTML is assuredly a good candidate.
|10-14-2016, 01:26 PM||#2|
Joined: Oct 2014
|10-14-2016, 02:58 PM||#3|
Joined: Sep 2010
From: Normanton Far North Queensland
Valid and Intetesting thoughts, time will tell how it will unfold.
Shoghi Effendi has said; "A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvellous swiftness and perfect regularity".
Thus it could be this and not the Language as such?
Last edited by tonyfish58; 10-14-2016 at 03:05 PM.
|10-14-2016, 10:10 PM||#4|
Joined: Jul 2014
From: Blue Planet
interesting ideas Walrus ... it is good that we think of this topic instead of waiting for time to show us the way. thank you for the good thoughts
|10-15-2016, 12:40 AM||#5|
Joined: Apr 2013
Curious, Esperanto use only 2 milion of people and is not worldwide speaking language, so this is fake prophecy , mainstream Bahais are not think logical. I criticise Christianity, Islam, Judaism the same like Baha'i
Last edited by Babism; 10-15-2016 at 01:03 AM.
|10-15-2016, 02:03 AM||#6|
Joined: Jul 2014
From: Blue Planet
no one said Esperanto is the prophesied language. and in fact quite the reverse Walrus showed us the quote by Abdul Baha in which He has counted some of the characteristics of the universal language according to which Esperanto cannot be the universal language.
READ CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU COMMENT.
|10-17-2016, 05:34 AM||#7|
Joined: Jun 2014
Thanks for the positive feedback everyone else.
And Pawel, go read the Bible.
|10-18-2016, 06:05 PM||#8|
Joined: Jun 2011
From: Somewhere "in this immensity"
You always post well-thought out and insightful posts! However, and even though you admit it is all in fun, I don't agree with you here. Even though HTML has language in its name hyper text mark up language, it is not at all a language, but, well... a markup (of) language. With HTML we can mark up a language (such as English) to control how that language is formated and displayed, but I could not use HTML to communicate anything without using some language with it.
My alias is <b> Fadl <\b>.
Is a short HTML text where the only part of it that is communicative, is English.
Anyway, I really do think you make some very intriguing suggestions here, as always.
|10-19-2016, 06:01 AM||#9|
Joined: Jun 2014
The only part of that example that is communicative to machines is the HTML.
|10-19-2016, 05:46 PM||#10|
Joined: Jun 2011
From: Somewhere "in this immensity"
|10-20-2016, 01:18 AM||#11|
Joined: Dec 2012
An enjoyable read for a forum essay. Thank you so much for sharing it with us here. It made a very pleasant surprise.
If we go further than HTML and explore computer coding itself, we can also witness that fiction has incorporated the idea of electronic translators from a time prior to the World Wide Web. Two well known televised series are Doctor Who and StarTrek. Both originated around the same time period in the 1960s. This was because the scripts needed a plausible justification as to how the regular cast could communicate with aliens by using the English language. So the notion of what Douglas Adams would later refer to as the "Babel Fish" was actually inferred before the era of personal computers. Therefore, the idea that a device can be used to translate speech has already been with us as part of our lexicon for around half a century. Indeed mobile translators are already with us and some can handle a significant number of languages. These already meet the basic requirements for day to day communications quite well because when conversing with them both parties progress in their understanding. In time, when such devices can be attached effortlessly to the neurological cortex, we will integrate with people with languages in totally seamless ways. This technology is already closer than some might think. Indeed the futurist Ray Kurzweil has been speaking about this for a few years now.
My partner works in international electronic publishing and she is among one of the few people in the world that can read people's intentions through the words they choose to employ. With the exception of a psychopath, it is impossible to lie to her. Every person communicates in a unique way and this means they can be profiled by the way they choose to communicate. The way people write is rather like a finger print. You need to have an IQ over 220 to do this instinctively. So it is not a skill that can be easily learnt. The highest recorded IQ in the world is 255. When you consider the fact that people with an IQ of 140 are considered gifted, it puts intelligence into a whole new context. Indeed there is a great deal of evidence that suggests that people are becoming much more intelligent. Indeed true intelligence can now be measured. It is done so by measuring the amount of blood that flows over the cranium over a specific time frame multiplied by its oxygen and glucose content. We already know that there are actually intelligence thresholds required in order to undertake all specific tasks. The secret to having intelligence therefore is very simple. It is in the blood and it is also defined by one's health. Indeed you can even use some natural foods to directly enhance the blood flow into the brain.
It is not possible to have a linguistic international language unless the peoples of the world also adopt a new form of cognitive reasoning. This cognitive reasoning does not exist at this time and this is one reason why the Bahá'í Community still struggles with embracing particular Bahá'í concepts in an intelligent manner. To really grasp such issues we will need to see people with an IQ equivalent of around 300. While the Bahá'í Faith has a high proportion of believers with PhD's, intelligence is so much more than acquiring education. Indeed education itself has actually capped the intelligence threshold of people. Education is the bastion of the Old World Order. It was invented to force young people to become loyal to the ideas of their state by removing them from the influence their parents as children. This process began in Prussia in the 19th century and it had been exported all around the world in order to promote Nationalism. Gifted children, if identified early, are normally taught outside of these conventional education systems. This is why some can hold multiple PhD's before reaching the age of sixteen. In reality we need to view intelligence in entirely new ways if we are ever to grasp how to translate what has been Written into reality and action. This is because the Bahá'í Writings, valued from an Old World Order mentality, will promote spiritual exclusiveness rather than spiritual inclusiveness. This is one of the many difficulties the Bahá'í Community faces today.
As you may know, at this time most Bahá'í translations are actually taken directly from English translations. There is a reason why Bahá''lláh explained that if it were His choice, He would have chosen Arabic for an auxiliary language. Without acquiring an Arabic linguistic mentality, it is always going to be difficult for Bahá'ís to understand the Bahá'í Writings at source. Indeed even if they learn Arabic they are still going to experience difficulties with their perception. Arabic is sometimes referred to as a scientific language because it is so precise in its definition. In contrast the English language is a bastardised language forged through military conquest. The Guardian, when translating into the English language, sought to add adjective prefixes to some words in order to allow their spiritual power to become revealed to the reader. This is what western academic translations of the Bahá'í Writings usually omit. While such translations can be clinically correct, they are not spiritually correct. When any person fails to present the spirit of a language they are participating in a prejudice known as cultural imperialism. The Bahá'í Writings are so rich that while they can be enjoyed by peoples of all spiritual backgrounds, they can only be truly understood with an Arabic mentality. So invariably the principle that will help bring about human unification is also likely to contribute towards the cognitive distancing of the next Manifestation of God.
We need to understand that all Manifestations of God and their appointed agents employ comparative language in order to talk about a future that has not yet arrived. These Writings are some of the most complex to unravel. Indeed the Guardian placed 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament into this category. This is why he explained that it would take over a century for the Bahá'ís to understand it. If we cannot truly understand 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament at this time, then what else is still beyond our comprehension?
Here is looking forward to the next time you choose to present an intriguing essay.
|10-20-2016, 02:51 AM||#12|
Joined: Apr 2011