Back on the topic of language and communication in the Tower of Babel legend, Preston Harold takes us on an evolutionary journey:
The Babel legend deals also with another aspect of man and the development of consciousness – it indicates the nature of the change evolutionary processes effected as man moved from his preceding state to Homo sapiens generation, and it points to the way he must evolve to meet his future. The Genesis legend says that man must…create words. But the legend also indicates that communication was established in the beginning, and in the dramas of Eden and Noah’s ark there is a broader sense of communication than follows thereafter:
In the days when the whole earth had one language and one vocabulary, there was a migration from the east…
These words suggest an absolute means of communication, one that was effortless insofar as conscious striving was concerned. Only telepathy or clairvoyance correspond to this. The Babel legend deals with Homo sapiens’ infant being, reflected today in the infant being of any man.
If the Noah legend tells of the birthing process of the human being, what comes next as a person matures is the development of communication and interaction. This is the part of human development which the Babel story conveys to us.
Mothers and their newborns have a means of communication in which words aren’t needed; intuition, gut feelings, premonitions, not to mention the obvious cries for food! Although this non-language based form of interaction is appropriate for a time, it is ultimately wanting for the requirements of humankind:
Unrestricted as telepathy appears to be, it is insufficient to meet man’s need to pass along to the next generation what he gains in knowledge and realizes to be truth. Only language, words, can meet this need. The demand to understand words and to communicate his understanding in words is put upon the child as he passes from infancy to childhood – above all, he must identify himself as a man. A transition must take place within him. The Babel legend would say that some inward power speaks, and the one word it could say that would confound the babble of the childish ego-group and start it along the path of conscious striving the one word that would make all men strangers even to themselves, is “I” – the seed of Enos, mortal, flowering in the articulated vocable, the word, its capacity, content, and meaning is unknown.
So what about this moment that confounds us, the moment when we realize that we are an “I” and not a “we?” Dr. Franz Winkler says:
“In his second or third year, every sane child undergoes an inner experience of utmost significance, an experience which radically changes his mental life. From that moment on he ceases to refer to himself in the third person and conceives of “I.” Some endowed with an unusual memory will recall this event later and will consequently not easily be swayed by philosophers and psychologists who deny the reality of selfhood.”
Harold begins to wrap things up for us:
The concept offered here is that when something within man and beyond his consciousness sounded through him, destroying his pre-Homo sapiens means of communication, the forces of extrasensory perception began to be dispersed, as were the tower’s builders, and this drama is repeated in the life of the child today… The Babel Tower legend suggests…that man moved away from his old means of communication, that he is still on the move, his development not to be arrested by any social structure he contrives.
But wait, is this all? Is there no room for any development of the mind in the area of communication with one another? Harold will end his wrap up by looking ahead:
But it must be pointed out that mental and spiritual powers rise in a spiral – ESP appears now to be returning in a form refined, for at the height of modern man’s intellectual powers he is apt to experience intuitive prompting, a sort of inward clairvoyance, that vastly enhances his mental reach. Jesus, himself, personifies the return of the power as empathy grows and intellect comes full flower.
And as a matter of fact, as we will explore later in this blog, for Preston Harold this mind power is essential if we are to understand Jesus’ miracles and resurrection.
Oh, and before we go, one last lesson from our story…
The Babel legend expresses a noble intellectual ideal – the fallacy is that not even Nimrod is named responsible, for it begins, “They said,” so that responsibility does not come to rest anywhere, or upon anyone engaged in the gigantic group effort. The legend says that something in man prohibits the completion of any irresponsible effort to solve any problem or reach any goal. In Eden, in the beginning, man is human and is given dominion over all other life because he was made to be responsible for self and acts. Trying to know by eating any fruit represents a thoughtless, mechanistic effort to achieve life’s goal automatically and irresponsibly. The Eden legend says such effort will fail – and the Babel legend confirms the dictum.
Until next time, peace…