Does Language Dictate Your Quality of Thinking?– The Secret Unearthed

‘The quality of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts’

Marcus Aurelius

‘The quality of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts’ is not only a profound statement by Marcus Aurelius but also reveals the secret behind achieving a good life which each of us desire.

‘The quality of not being different or special or unexpected in any way’ is the dictionary meaning of ordinariness. Our everyday lives are loaded with complexities, which most of the time are beyond simplification. Every choice we make is not merely a result of a simplistic or over-simplistic view of any situation. The term ordinariness used here is in the context of the quality of ‘everything’, which envelops us. The quest for excellence is human nature, and the contrary can never be a norm. We may yearn for simplicity but would never wish to compromise on ‘the quality of life’. 

We do not look for the ordinary when we want something but crave for the extraordinary synonymous with ‘good quality’. We have to have a definitive notion of quality for the material things that we need. To cite an illustration, a specific brand of a smartphone is by the standards of popular culture is a status symbol and at the same time, is also of exceptional quality. When you are purchasing this smartphone, you are assured of quality for the simple reason that the company has proved itself over the years and has built an image for itself, which is perceived as synonymous with style and quality. The building of standards for a product or of one’s own thinking process never happens overnight and one factor that cannot be contradicted is that it is culturally induced or determined.

Are we today surrounded by the cacophony of ordinariness, do things that surround us have good ‘quality’, whether material or non – material in nature? This surely cannot be said to be an irrelevant question.

Can we say this quest for quality, when we are to buy a gadget, also reflects when we are appreciating poetry or a film. Sensibilities evolve to perceive and appreciate the material and the non – material, and therefore can we assess the quality of our standards of appreciation and understanding? Well, almost always, this can only be calibrated through comparisons and can only be evaluated relatively.

Is, the manner in which, any material thing or non – material phenomenon assessed by a community depend on its quality of education? Well, certainly it should? The standards of performing artists, architecture, literature, set by the preceding generations seem of better standards even if rated subjectively. The world never saw another Shakespeare, Einstein, or Da Vinci after them. Does that demonstrate that everything is not all right about the quality of contemporary education? 

Can ordinariness be measured?

Ordinariness is a measure of quality, and quality itself is an abstract phenomenon. Can any objectivity be introduced, in the measuring of quality and determining the level of ordinariness? Will always be an interesting question.

Footballers can be rated through their statistics, but that can never reflect the level of the game in the earlier times with the level today. So defining a criterion to set standards is always a challenging task. When today we want to choose a smartphone, we check out for good specifications within our budget. Can there also be specifications for all other things that we do in life?

Every nation has a personality. We know the Japanese for their labor, discipline, and humility, and not just that we know them for their quality consciousness. In almost everything they make, the Japanese’ quest for quality is discernible. Now this isn’t achievable without quality thinking because everything material made of the highest quality cannot be a produce of bad – quality thinking process.

Can there be an assessment of the quality of thinking?

When as a child your mother corrects your wrongly pronounced word that perhaps is the first quality control measure to improve your language proficiency. Schooling is the process whereby you are subjected to various quality control measures in diverse areas of self – development ranging from your language ability, mathematical ability to your sports, or musical skill. Well, that highlights the importance of good – quality schooling and how that can make a difference in your thinking processes and its evolution.

Biological evolution, on one hand, has supported complexity, while preserving even the simplest form of life, but even the simplest by no means is simple, ask a biologist. The recent pandemic caused by a virus is enough to assess the complexity of the simplest life-form on this planet. Even the simplest of a cell, the bacterial cell, has thousands of metabolic processes happening at any point in time. 

What is aiding ordinariness?

Can we improve our quality of thinking and comprehension? Can it be accomplished? But before that, we also should be able to answer as to why should Shakespeare be recognised qualitatively better than any modern-day writers? Who sets the benchmarks? Is there something universal about quality and ordinariness, or is it merely relative and abstract? 

We can sense that ordinariness has gripped academics, science, literature, and practically everything which requires refinement and evolution of the thinking process. Rating academic institutions by domestic standards is not going to be of great help.

Is the bar of quality thinking being intentionally lowered to accommodate the ordinariness of the influential class, who are less talented? Well, let’s not go into the politics of it. If any such phenomenon is in play, in any country or community it would be self-destructive. 

‘Quality is not an act, it is a habit’, is another notable quote from Aristotle. The quote indicates that the quest for quality is intrinsic in human nature and may emerge into a consistent habit of looking out for quality in everything. Therefore, it is amply clear that the quality of life, whether material or otherwise, cannot be raised unless we raise the quality of our thoughts and depth of our understanding.

Is language the first indicator of quality thinking?

According to George Carlin, a stand-up comedian, ‘We think in language’. Yes, that cannot be contradicted. The quality of our thoughts and ideas can only be as good as the quality of our language. Language can be an important criterion for judging the quality of thinking? How? Because we understand and express in words. Not anyone can understand legal language and Shakespeare, but your level of understanding and training enables you to do so. To conclude, it would be apt to say that the quest for quality can begin with the attempt to improve our language. Surely, it can be a beginning, rest will follow.

Coming back to Marcus Aurelius’ quote, it needs to be said that this quality improvement may not be achieved if does not happen collectively in a community or population or a nation which means that unless the quality of thinking in an entire population gets an orientation towards good quality, the desired results may never be achieved. Let’s begin with ensuring that the schools concentrate on the development of a child’s language competence and consider this as the fundamental benchmark for judging the quality of education, which would further automatically insure the quality of thinking of the nation as a whole. What Ludwig Wittgenstein, the great philosopher, said sums it all, that is intended to be said,

‘The limits of my language are the limits of my world’.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

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  1. Linus

    Marcus Aurelius is rarely read these days. I enjoyed reading your blog. I intent to revisit it after a gew days.


  2. naseerbj



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