How does one think without language?

That was a question Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (the later one) had me thinking at 2 am one night. I have never lived without language– even in utero, I would have heard people talk, if it’s possible to hear in utero. I cannot know what it’s like to think without a language. Do you rely on emotions? Abstracts? How do you go about doing it?

I was a bit disappointed with the monster. I really just wanted him to be misunderstood, doing things on accident, a lovable oaf, if you will. But he seemed so evil. I was a bit depressed reading it and decided to take a break from reading classical novels.

There were so many ethical questions that the book raised. If you were in Victor’s shoes, would you have made the monster a mate on the condition he would leave human society alone? Reading it, I thought yeah, I would. But then when Victor began to question, to ask what would happen if the female did not want to, then I began to see the dilemma. It is one of those things: do you make another one, risking human life (though that is not a guarantee) to save human life? Or do you refuse to, knowing full well that human life will be taken, but knowing that you may have saved life from another monster (though, once more, it is not a guarantee). It is a conundrum, one that I don’t think many, if any, of people can answer.

Frankenstein had a lot of questions about that that had me thinking that it would be great for a discussion based ethics class, or one that tries to further understand the world. I can understand why it has been around for so long.


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