The Tower of Babel and the Mystery of Language: Part I


Preston Harold tells us something very important concerning the story of Jesus’ life:

Jesus’ legend reveals the genesis of human power: the word man speaks that sets each one apart and identifies him in the name of God, “I.” In broadest sense, it is a continuation of the legend of the Tower of Babel, which presents the mystery of language.

Of course one’s mind here could understandably veer to the thought of the prologue of John’s Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word…,” which marries Harold’s thoughts of the beginning, God, and language. But for now let’s focus on the Tower of Babel and what this legend is trying to tell us:

One has only to read C.W. Ceram’s Gods, Graves, and Scholars to see how often in human history the drama of building a Tower of Babel has been repeated. Thus, the Biblical legend must enfold many tellings of such an endeavor as it points also to the rise and fall of languages and civilizations committed to a ziggurat concept that, whatever its nature, robs one of his individuality, substituting for his God-given name, “I,” a Group-ego label that “us,” his personality must wear as a ball and chain upon the human soul:

…let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make a name…

Building a tower whose top may reach unto heaven indicates a reaching beyond consciousness to the subconscious in an attempt to control man so that he will obey the dictates of his conditioners and accept their label…


Ah, mind control! Emotional manipulation. Can you say “Madison Avenue?” Here’s a great introductory video on the psychology of advertising. Don’t forget that these are the same techniques used by politicians as they try to convince us to elect them:


Feelings, nothing more than feelings…


But there is a remedy to all this constant manipulation going on around us. Picking up where we left off, Harold continues…

…but those who seek through this means to build a totalitarian, utopian structure overlook the Monarch of each one’s inner world, jealously guarding one’s very life, utterly concerned with one’s every breath. This inner Authority prevails – or so the Babel legend says: “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do. Therefore let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” And in the ensuing confusion, the builders disperse, the ziggurat is abandoned. What happens, psychologically speaking, to thwart this mighty effort?

This we will explore in part two of this post. Until then, peace…


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