The Three Laws of Performance, Part 2


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The second Law of Performance is, "How situations occur for you arises in language." This is even more difficult than the first law to comprehend because language is so ingrained in us from early childhood. We do not have an experience of what life is like without it.

The following is a quote from Hellen Keller's book titled,  
My Religion. Hellen Keller was deaf and could not speak until the age of six. She actually had memories prior to having language and could clearly see the impact language had on her.


"For nearly six years I had no concepts whatever of nature or mind or death or God. I literally thought with my body. Without a single exception my memories of that time are tactile. I was impelled like an animal to seek food and warmth. I remember crying, but not the grief that caused the tears . . . . I was like an unconscious clod of earth. Then, suddenly, I knew not how or where or when, my brain felt the impact of another mind, and I awoke to language, to knowledge of love, to the usual concepts of nature, of good and evil! I was actually lifted from nothingness to human life."

Let's examine a couple of lines.  "I remember crying, but not the grief that caused the tears..., and  I awoke to language, to knowledge of love, to the usual concepts of nature, of good and evil"! How could she have a memory of the tears and not the grief that caused them? Because, the tears are a direct experience and "grief" is a concept of an experience, and we can not have concepts without language. So, while Helen Keller could recall the tears because they were her experience, she did not have the capacity to create a meaning for those tears as a concept. Therefore, her perception could not include any concepts.

This is a distinction most of us do not make. We treat our experiences, and what we make them mean (our concepts of our experiences) as the same thing and they are
NOT the same thing. There is our experience, or what happens, and there is what we make that mean, or how we conceptualize what happened. This is why each of us can have an entirely different perception of the exact same occurrence. Just like in the example in the previous post, the perception of the children was completely different that that of the businessman. Why? Because how they conceptualized it was entirely different. 

Now, it is more likely that without language our perception in the rain puddle example would be more like the children's and not the businessman's. The older we get the more ingrained we are in language, and consequently the more situations "mean" something other that what they are!

So, the bottom line is this: language allows us to conceptualize the experience of our lives. Each of us will conceptualize the exact same experience differently, which will impact our perception differently, thus, "How situations occur for you arises in language."

How does this "occur" for you?