A hand raised to wave as you drive away, tears in your eyes, the other hand covering your heart. Jumping for joy with fists punching the sky, wide eyes and broad grin opening up with shouts of glee. Hunching over with spine curled over the heart, face staring at the passing sidewalk, arms limp. Eyes glimmering, sharpened in focus to the set of eyes looking back…seeing past the shape and colors to the place where they first met. A small child reaches, hands clasping toward the book on the shelf, grunting noises escape her lips as she pushes up and down from her toes and lunges toward the object of her desire in hopes of attracting a helpful hand.
Panting in the doorway, your furry friend looks at the door and back at you, the door again, you, the door…whines a little whine and leaps lowly with excitement at the still door frame, sure that you will notice his longing. Gestures and body language can speak volumes to what we are feeling and thinking, as well as signal some sort of evolution taking place, both in human and beast.
Recent research has started to notice that young apes make similar gestures to human toddlers at approximately the same age, pointing to possible equality in development at that point. Are apes getting smarter, or are we just starting to notice a phenomenon that has always been there? The study questions whether the remarkable gestures are in fact precursors to the evolution of language skills. Likely. My question is, does the fact that a species speaks really make them ‘smarter’ or is there something to be said for silent communication?
Take a look at the octopus. Some suggest the octopus holds the model for human communication of the future, both psychedelic and telepathic. The octopus actually becomes their thoughts, or in other words, reflects outwardly the inner workings of the mind. It is like a naked nervous system, what you see is what is. “The octopus literally dances its thoughts through expression of a series of color changes and position changes that require no loca linguistic conventions for understanding as do our words and sentences. In the world of the octopus, to behold is to understand.“
In a different way, when you look at ‘advanced’ beings in this world, those who one might consider to be enlightened or ‘awake’ in a deeper sense, they are often people of few words. It seems that the more one becomes conscious, as a human, the less words are required to navigate this reality. The Tao Te Ching says of words: “He who knows does not speak; He who speaks does not know.”
So what of our little monkey gesturing to his mother? It is true that gestures can speak volumes, both before the development of language as well as after? I guess the real question is whether or not this little monkey is about to talk, and if so – what would that mean for the human race? If, in fact, other species, which we have considered to be of ‘lower intelligence’ than we are begin to speak and use language, what does that signal for us? Are we too due for a consciousness upgrade in terms of communication? And if so, how would that look? Can gestures be the signal for an evolutionary jump both in humans and in beast alike?
Peering back at the octopus, we can learn a lot about silent dialogue and mental communication. We have touched on it already in our society, though very little attention has been brought to this possibility. What if we didn’t have to use words to transfer our thoughts to others? Wouldn’t it be more effective if they could just know what we were trying to say? Language has so often become a barrier, especially between the sexes, who seem to use very different styles to communicate the mind. How many times have you wished that another could just read your mind?
We are a funny species. We want so badly to see other creatures advance and be amazed by them, but we are somewhat timid in our own quest for jumping the possibilities barrier. We are brave when it comes to technology and skiddish about our own conscious leaps. What else is possible for us? How else might we communicate that would count us upgraded on the evolutionary scale?
Perhaps we could learn a few things from the apes, the octopus, dolphins and other animals in our environment, such as the value of gestures and tones to speak volumes of the impulses that come before language reaches our brains, and after. If we humans could glean a bit of insight from the ‘beasts’ we are surrounded with, we might just be able to use gestures to experience an evolution in our own form of communication never before dreamed of.
He feels the swelling of love deep in his being, and without a word, passes thoughts of appreciation and gratitude her way, which she instantly receives and recognizes as a silent gift from him. The moment intensifies and rather than speaking, the two of them drop to the floor and begin to sway in order to channel through the fears and wonderings they both are experiencing…as the energy lifts, they both open their eyes and nod, knowing they made it through the wave of discomfort together and can clearly go on in peace.
Written by: Stasia Bliss