Lost in Translation: are we meant to transcend language?


What would humanity be if humans did not use language to communicate? What if we had a more advanced, telepathic way to send each other information via images?

The other day I was watching the film Lost in Translation. For those who have not seen the film it is unique photographic experience and one fascinating trip to the Japanese urban and traditional imagery. The powerful effect of photography supersedes the effect of language, in fact the whole movie shows how weak and ineffective language is compared to image. The complexities of the vernacular are demystified and reduced to mere incoherent utterances and comical mishaps . Throughout the film there is a communication fail and gradual deconstruction of the -usually revered- language.


The image then replaces the word. Telepathy or if you like an undefined inner connection than enables instant knowledge takes place. The two protagonists do not communicate primarily through speech (which has the ability to bring details of their past and life details back home in the present) but via connecting to their surroundings and surrendering to the present. There is somehow the instant knowledge that their surroundings take form as the externalised inner world. They create their reality and the confusion and noise outside is a reflexion of the inner noise.


Communicating with images would of course require a new perception of reality and a new purpose for communication. Immediate access to an image would mean immediate access to the purpose and the intention behind it. It would require honesty and truth, both of which language is a master at concealing and distorting. An image is clear. “One picture is worth a thousand words.”


An image is non linear in the sense that it encompasses information to be absorbed in random order but also in different ways: you would not necessarily have to think and analyse the image and come up with a mental evaluation/response. Instead you would “feel” or even experience the message as a whole-a type of encoded hologram. (hologram: greek word holos (whole) and gramma (message).) One would have a psychological, mental or spiritual response to it. But to do that one would need to have developed those “receptors”. Eventually including telepathy of course.

Lost in Translation is a great example of communicating through images and accessing information through visual stimuli instead of a narrated story. The fascinating hyper-urbanised Japanese setting is a real inspiration to get a feel of what communication and the nature of a message would feel like, once humanity moves past the Age of Reason.

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