second half of this essay after showing you a different way of using arrows for describingperceptions adopted by linguists today.About 15 years ago, I was professionally involved in activities in this field, daily conducting thepaid exercise of converting sentences (mentation by thought) into structures of perception(mentation by form) and vice versa. This exercise substantially changed the way I think, read,write, listen and speak; helped in my career as a translator and writer; and more recentlyshaped my unique way of using language in conducting a joint exploration of our true naturein a group format. This essay provides you with minimum information required for conductinga similar exercise.
Linguistics and "Mentation by Form"
According to this information, it was customary in long-past centuries onEarth for every man bold enough to aspire to the right to be considered byothers and to consider himself a "conscious thinker" to be instructed, whilestill in the early years of his responsible existence, that man has two kinds of mentation one kind, mentation by thought, expressed by words alwayspossessing a relative meaning, and another kind, proper to all animals aswell as to man, which I would call "mentation by form."(Gurdjieff,
Beelzebubs Tales to His Grandson
, p. 15)The linguistic study of "mentation by form" and its relationship with "mentation by thought"started about 20 years after Gurdjieffs death. Two linguists are known to have built thefoundation of these studies: Noam Chomsky and Charles Fillmore. Chomsky studied therelationship between language and mind while Fillmore established the "case grammar"theory. The case grammar theory enabled linguists to determine the geometrical structure of corresponding perception by analyzing a sentence in terms of verb-noun relationships."Mentation by form" is the process of perception that precedes verbal formulation. "Mentationby form" can be assisted effectively or ineffectively by the use of words as labels, pointers,and holders of attention. Nevertheless, "mentation by form" can be conducted without relyingon or being constrained by grammatical rules. It is essentially a nonverbal task that dependsmore on our spatial awareness, movement awareness, relationship awareness, and self-awareness than on our linguistic proficiency."Mentation by thought," on the other hand, corresponds to mental processes that involvelanguage, which has much less capability for representing our potentially multi-dimensionalperception of reality. The quality of "mentation by thought" depends on its connection with"mentation by form." Without this connection, thinking degenerates into "associations."In the last few decades, studies in this field were actively conducted by developers of NaturalLanguage Processing (NLP) and machine translation methodologies. They have found thatour languages are too subjective and idiosyncratic to be handled effectively as they are by acomputer, and therefore looked for a way to convert our natural language into a moreuniversal format. From 1988 to 1989, I was involved in activities in this field as a professionallinguist supporting the development of a Japanese-English translation system at a major computer manufacturer in Japan.In the field of machine translation, the phrase-to-phrase conversion method proved to besuccessful only between languages that have identical grammatical structures. To effectivelytranslate Japanese into English, it was found to be necessary to rely on "mentation by form"as had been predicted by Gurdjieff: