The Improbability of Communication

by Michael Colantoni

The second kind of mentation, that is, “mentation by form”—through which, by the way, the exact meaning of all writing should be perceived and then assimilated after conscious confrontation with information previously acquired—is determined in people by the conditions of geographical locality, climate, time, and in general the whole environment in which they have arisen and in which their existence has flowed up to adulthood.

Thus, in the brains of people of different races living in different geographical localities under different conditions, there arise in regard to one and the same thing or idea quite different independent forms, which during the flow of associations evoke in their being a definite sensation giving rise to a definite picturing, and this picturing is expressed by some word or other that serves only for its outer subjective expression.

That is why each word for the same thing or idea almost always acquires for people of different geographical localities and races a quite specific and entirely different so to say “inner content.”

In other words, if in the “presence” of a man who has arisen and grown up in a given locality a certain “form” has been fixed as a result of specific local influences and impressions, this “form” evokes in him by association the sensation of a definite “inner content,” and consequently a definite picturing or concept, for the expression of which he uses some word that has become habitual and, as I said, subjective to him, but the hearer of that word—in whose being, owing to the different conditions of his arising and growth, a form with a different “inner content” has been fixed for the given word—will always perceive and infallibly understand that word in quite another sense.

This fact, by the way, can be clearly established by attentive and impartial observation during an exchange of opinions between persons belonging to different races or who arose and were formed in different geographical localities.

George Ivanovich Gurdjieff – Beezlebub’s Tales to His Grandson