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8. Language: A Collective Transformation via The Factorial of 52

Hugh Sifu: [00:00:00] Hey everybody thanks for listening to Thoughts of a Random Citizen. I just wanted to start off by thanking some of my sources on this episode. While I do get typically a bunch of different information from a bunch of different sources and then create my own knowledge on that, I do my best to source when I do specifically use quoted information, which I do occasionally in this. Some of what I got from this episode was derived from Ted Talks specifically on language.

If you Google language Ted Talks, I watched a bunch of different things regarding language, but Alistair Knott and Lera Boroditsky apologies if I'm not pronouncing those correctly, but big shout out to them and Ted Talks everywhere. Then I used an example as well, later on that I believe I did source, but Scott Czepiel as well. Big shout out to him for the work he did in helping clarify some examples that I give for you guys. I will cite those names in the show notes, but again, thank you to those guys, and enjoy the episode.

All right, guys, welcome to Thoughts of a Random Citizen. I'm your host Hugh Sifu as always. Got an interesting podcast today about language and communication. Hope you guys are interested in that. It's prevalent in today's society considering we talk to each other a lot, but besides that yes, I got a little bit at the end about investment opportunities in regards to communication language. It's mostly just about thoughts on how important and overlooked languages. [00:02:00] Without further ado, I'll kick us off.

The written language is only an adaption at how our brains process thoughts. Words are only our best attempt to solve communication. Language is in and of itself the purest form of transformation. Every sentence you've ever heard or read is built into a paragraph that you've never seen or heard before yet, you can understand it completely. You're listening right now to this podcast and never have you heard, I'm assuming these words in this structure in the manner in which I'm conveying them to you yet you can completely understand and comprehend it.

Language is something that if properly communicated can communicate things not yet defined. You'll probably find I do this quite often in my podcast as I make up words every now and again, that aren't in the dictionary. My question to you is, is that really an issue? Well, if you don't understand what I'm trying to communicate, because I said an incorrect word, well then yes, it's an issue. If I made up a word and you understood it completely in the context in which I was trying to convey it, then it's not really an issue.

I've properly communicated to you and you've properly understood that's communication. That's what a word is supposed to do. Like the word validified. I accidentally used that the other day when I should have used the word validate. It was a face-to-face conversation and it wasn't even really brought up or talked about because the guy I was talking to completely understood exactly what I was trying to get across. That's not really an issue. [00:04:00] It's succeeded in doing what it's supposed to do, whether it's not a defined word or not isn't an issue.

Where it does become an issue, however, is words passed from one generation to the next. Now we know that language changes dramatically from Roman times to the Middle Ages, to the American Revolution, to now the way that they used to talk compared to the way that we talk now is drastically different. The importance of words being defined to properly communicate to future generations is important, very important. That can also explain why maybe when they tried to translate texts from ancient languages that are being defined by people who've never even spoken the language, there's the occasional typo, if you will.

That's not a bad thing. It's just language. The importance of the define the language is mostly beneficial in the transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next. In use of everyday life, it's thrown out the window if the intended communication is correctly perceived, and it is also a good indicator of how society currently operates. I'm about to blow your [beeping] mind with this very crazy example to me that was insane. Just to make my point further about how language is the most pure form of transformation and to communicate that what I've been saying [00:06:00] has never really been said before.

I don't know how I got here, but when I started researching stuff or this stuff, it just goes for a while. Before I go into the example, there are over a million words in the English language. Of that we only speak around 170,000 of those words today. The average person only uses about 20,000 to 30,000 of those words, in my case like 10,000. Mixing all those words and making new and different sentences seems like there'd be a lot of ways to do that. Well, let's do this, take a deck of cards and please bear with me while I get through this example because it is pretty confusing.

You might be forced to do it again, but I will post on my website a link to the video that explains it pretty well. A deck of cards, which has 52 cards or 54, but we'll just go with 52 for this example and see how many different ways you can combine that deck of 52 cards. For those of you who aren't a mathematician, it's a really big number. It is 8.0658 times 10 to the 67th or some ridiculous number. Anyways, it's the factorial of 52. To try to explain an example of the factorial of 52, a guy named Scott Czepiel, I don't know Czepiel something, trying to make a comparison of how large this is by using the factorial of 52 as a clock.

This is the example that he got to. Stand on the equator and wait a billion years then take a step. [00:08:00] Do that again. Wait another billion years, and then take another step. After you walk around the entire world waiting a billion years in between each step, take a drop of water out of the Pacific ocean. Then walk around the world again and then take another drop of water out of the Pacific ocean. Once the Pacific ocean is empty, put a piece of paper on the ground, refill the Pacific ocean, and then continue taking your steps around, taking a drop of water out.

Until the Pacific ocean is empty again, put another piece of paper on the ground and then once that stack of paper reaches the sun, do that 3000 more times and you'll have reached a factorial of 52 in seconds. I know that that is a very crazy example because it is so large of how large a factorial of 52 is, but essentially it has over 67 zeros behind it. It's a number unfathomable, which is why that examples seems extremely absurd, but is actually accurate. If you had a deck of cards and shuffled it, the chances are that if you shuffled it every second since the beginning of our universe, you would never come across the same combination.

Every time a deck of cards is shuffled, it is likely that if you lay those cards out, it will be in a new order that has never been laid out before, point being it's a very large number. Coming back to reality, we have 170,000 different words using today's language. [00:10:00] Combine that not 52, but 170,000 words. That's a lot of different combinations. Obviously, there are billions of different combinations of ways to communicate things in different ways. It can give us an insight into where society is and where we're heading. It is the forefront of what is to come. It is the first stepping stone.

When communication breaks down, you can see what will follow just by the way we are communicating, it is the purest form of a collective transformation. Now, language obviously shapes the way we think as well, or at least it's been proven to do so or trying to be proven to do so. A study was done in an Aboriginal community in a tribe near Cape York, Australia. The study found that this tribe organized time in specific ways that were not typical of the way you and I probably organized time.

They organized time in cardinal directions, essentially, east or west, the way the sun moves in the sky. When given a set of pictures of a baby growing into a child grow into a teenager growing into an adult into an old man, they were asked to organize them. Now, for the western part of the world, you probably organize them left to right, baby to old man. In other parts of the world, they organize them right to left. However, the Aboriginal community was different [00:12:00] depending on the direction they were facing.

If they're facing north, then they organize them right to left, if they're facing east, top to bottom, south, left to right, and west, bottom to top. Time is on the land and they arrange time depending on the way that they were facing. Because of their understanding of their perception of time, they also didn't have words like left or right. If you asked something like what is on the left of view, it would have to be described in the direction that they were facing north, east, south, or west. they would say if they were facing south, and referring to their left foot, they would say their East foot.

I think that's right, anyways, you get what I'm saying. That would change if they're facing north and it would become their West foot, assuming that I'm correct. That can just show how language can shape your perception in a vast way when you have a different way of perceiving time and direction. How it implicates your day-to-day actions, I'll let you decide. Think about this example as well. The German word for son is feminine, and the Spanish word is masculine, and the opposite goes for the moon.

When asked for people to describe, they would describe and attribute different words that applied to the gender that the word was. A bridge for example, when asked to describe in a feminine language, bridge being feminine, it was more elegant and beautiful. When the bridge was masculine in another language, it was more strong and sturdy. [00:14:00] Language guides the way we reason about specific events, specific things. For example, if somebody bumps into a table and knocks the glass over, in English, you'd say, well, she broke the glass, wherein in other languages you'd say the glass broke.

Now, this doesn't seem like much of a difference but this creates a different perception of outcomes. We'd be more likely in one language as English to remember who broke the glass, she broke the glass, as opposed to in another language remembering that the glass broke. They wouldn't remember who did it, but that it was an accident. These have implications for blame and punishment as well. Another example is breaking your arm, for example. In other languages, you wouldn't say I broke my arm because it would imply that you were seeking a way to break your arm.

Instead, you construct a sentence to express, the breaking of your arm was an accident. English specifically tends to focus on placing blame and remembering the cause of an accident, where other languages more just remember the fact of an accident. This can cause a massive shift in the perception of day-to-day life, especially in unnecessary embarrassment. When your perception is possible blame for an accident, it changes the way you interact with others, just on the basis of the language alone.

Everyone obviously knows that if you break your arm, it's not on purpose. You didn't break your arm, you didn't go out to do it on purpose. It is a more feeling of embarrassment because of the way we structure the language. [00:16:00] Now, going back to the fact that language is a pure form of translation or transformation, some languages don't even have numbers. When asked how many dogs are there, and there are seven dogs, they don't have a specific way to count them. Now, most languages today have numbers.

However, back in a more primitive time of languages, once the numbers were developed in a language, this opened up an entire world to mathematics. In addition, some languages have different names for colors like blue and light blue, which allows their brains to react quicker in regards to the transitions of those colors. Now, these are all subtle things. When applied over the spectrum of an entire language, it can really create a different perception of the way we perceive and operate in day-to-day life.

This just shows that language is a living transformation that shapes the way we think and operate in creating thoughts and allowing others to understand the thoughts that you've created. Short story long, we evolve this language and combine it as a species every second of every day. With an ever-evolving language, it can be difficult when trying to read and communicate via words only. It lacks much of the necessities of what true communication is. I've been talking all about words, words, words but communication is a lot of face-to-face and social cues.

Something that we all probably already know is that the literal meaning of the words account for only about 7% of the overall message. [00:18:00] Tone accounts for about 38%, body language, about 55%. Now that's in face-to-face conversations. However, another study revealed that nonverbal cues transmit about 65% of the meaning. When you're trying to read words online, and derive a comprehensible meaning from an author that was trying to communicate to you, you're only getting about 7% to 30% of what was intended to be communicated.

Even on this podcast, at most, you're getting about 50% of what I'm trying to communicate. Then we wonder why people fight much on Twitter and Social Media, maybe because you're only getting 7% of what that person is actually attempting to communicate.


Just as the economy evolves and we continue to create better governments and educate our youth, we as well try to create and improve more unconsciously, a language that serves us best. We unconsciously develop and change our language over time. When you were a kid, you used different slang than your parents did. Words mix together, break apart, and change meanings over time. What does that mean? Well, not a whole lot and there's not much you can do about it besides just sit back and enjoy the ride.

It is crucial understanding the ways in which our society meshes. It's crucial to understand the ways our brain thinks about things and solves problems. How beneficial is it to communicate with someone of another language because they can solve problems in a different language? Yes, a lot of our languages today are very closely related. Take a problem to someone from that Aboriginal community who completely organizes time in a different way in which we do. [00:20:00] Meaning that baby pictures can change depending on the way you're facing. I'm assuming they're going to solve problems a lot differently than we would.

That can be beneficial in the long run in regards to a more diversified set of solutions. Now, the benefits of understanding how people can communicate things in a different language and how they process thoughts differently, subtly but differently can be extremely beneficial. Referencing something else I spoke on earlier about breaking the vase where one language emphasizes on remembering who broke the vase, she broke the base, the other language emphasizes on the vase breaking.

While this is a very niche example, you can see how it has the potential for, again, that more diversified set of solutions for potential problems. Different language creates diverse thought processes, which when combined can create a more complete solution. This actually leads me into the entrepreneurial side of this episode today. Instead of throwing it at the end, I'm just going to throw it in the middle or the middle-end, I guess. A new and important field of study of how you invest in language. I would say that Zoom and Microsoft are the leaders of this probably Google as well.

Essentially we are at a point to where you can go into a completely [00:22:00] different country like the Middle East or China, if you're an English speaker or anywhere else for that matter and pull out a phone and communicate almost in real-time with the other people. That is going to enable globalization in critical for the continued growth of the human race. While it is beneficial to be able to communicate to everyone with one language, it might be even more beneficial to have technology that allows us to continue to grow in our own languages whilst still being able to communicate properly with other languages because of that diversity.

Where you as an entrepreneur can come in is creating earbud, like iPod Air, although they're probably already doing it. That can communicate in another language in real-time. You have an earbuds, you go to China, what you hear gets translated in through your earbuds and relayed to you in your language. Pretty sick I know, but they're already doing that. Microsoft already has that platform available and Zoom already has that platform available in online meeting like Skype or a Zoom meeting.

You can essentially talk in to the camera and out comes the language if you're in China, for example. You can speak in English and they hear it in Chinese, Mandarin. It's definitely going to be a very good investment opportunity however, right now I wouldn't put money in Zoom. [00:24:00] It's a bit overvalued, maybe Microsoft, but that's just the entrepreneurial side of today. I think we can all agree that it would be pretty sick if you could just throw in earbuds and go anywhere in the world and communicate and understand what they're saying.

Anyways, language is a form of communication not completely understood by those who teach it. Sometimes I think we forget while being "politically correct", yes, it can be polite and useful in certain situations. In other situations it causes us to lie to not only ourselves but others as well. In a society that orients itself around the blatant disregard to the reality, is bound to find despair. Instead, understanding cooperate with our differences. Don't pretend that they don't exist because it'll only create an inevitable [beeping] moment in the future.

Which can be either good or bad depending on how our language is oriented around it. Now I'm absolutely not saying it's okay to be racist or ignorant or just outright rude but I am saying that to an extreme end of political correctness, we are depriving ourselves of a certain reality that will help us grow in the future together when that reality is not being blatantly disregarded. Back to that example of the factorial of 52, that was a crazy example, our brains process and organized 20,000 to 30,000 words and combine them in new ways every day.

Our brains process data [00:26:00] of that greater than the factorial of 52 every day. Now we don't remember and reorganize every single 52 card deck, but the point is still there. We develop and change with the language of our time because of the immense amount of data and knowledge, trying to be understood and conveyed via these many different cards or words. Language is the measuring stick of the growth of the society. To understand where society is at, where it is going or where it has been, just look and understand the way that they are currently communicating.

Are the words, harsh, uncompromising, apathetic, devoid of inclusiveness or deceitful, or are they compassionate, hopeful, diverse, honest, and innovative? For all of the reasons that words on a paper or an example of how quickly a phrase changes words on a screen. In meaning you can't typically garner the entire understanding a misstatement via words alone, or at least as easily compared to face-to-face. Today we have the ability to understand where society is at much easier because the mass amounts of words at your fingertips.

On the news and social media, we can see where our 20,000 to 30,000 day-to-day words are leading us. Just observe how we communicate and understand that you have a choice to create with your words alone. Where would you like to take the factorial of 52? The infinite language factorial that can lead to possibilities down a road that leads to ruin or resolve? Would you rather go down the rabbit hole of a harsh uncompromising future or one that leads to a peaceful, honest and compassionate future?

One last thing that I also find funny is that on the topic of language, less than 50 years ago, there was an outcry and an [00:28:00] awakening movement that spread across the US that was a free speech movement. An outcry for equality and the importance of peaceful assemblies. Less than 50 years later, we now have an outcry for the suppression and moderation of speech. I think we need to focus more on being the change that we want to see in the world. People get mad at Trump and filter him for his hate speech and yet themselves are hateful in their speech.

I'm not on social media so I could care less. Just things that I've noticed from the outside. 100% Trump is a [beeping] head who says ridiculous things that benefit no one. However, on the other side, you see the people replying and responding and the things that they say, have the exact same connotations as Trump's. Again, these are just examples of how we can look at the words used on a day-to-day basis to see where we are at as a society. Now, I don't care what your opinion is, and if you want to march or protest, just do it peacefully.

Stop the Steal or Black Lives Matter, whatever your rally cry is, please just don't harm, destroy or hurt one another. That solves nothing and doesn't invite open conversation. It provokes argument. Freedom of speech and open language will create lasting change. Not allowing the people to freely communicate by cutting the cord or banning platforms is a dangerous precedent. We should remember the importance of free speech and the helpfulness of an ever-evolving language. Sticks and stones may, as they do in recent cases, break your bones, but words will never hurt you.

Let's use the beautiful language we've created to talk [00:30:00] about our issues while moving forward, not resort to tribalistic violence. Stay happy, everybody. Stay happy. I hope that you guys enjoyed this episode on language and hopefully, it opened up your mind to the vastness and the ever-changing nature of it and how it can really determine the course of where we are at and where we are going. Get off social media and communicate face to face, communicate with 100% of you not 7% of you.

If you can develop those really cool earbuds that I can go to any place in the world and talk and communicate in real-time, let me know because I will buy them from you or invest in you. Thank you guys for listening to Thoughts of a Random Citizen. As always, feel free to go to as a platform to talk, communicate, ask questions about the podcast, or get something played on the podcast. Other than that, I will talk to you guys next week on Thoughts of a Random Citizen.

[00:31:22] [END OF AUDIO]

Scott Czepiel - Explanation

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