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Science Discovers Syntax in Animal Communication

A recent study published in the journal Nature Communications has become one of the first scientific researches into the “language” of the animal kingdom. Aside from spiritual and philosophical ideals remaining today that place animals as a respected brother of humanity, postmodern society has turned the animal kingdom into a commodity like everything else. This is not said to feed the argument of “an animal’s life is equivalent to a human’s life” per se, but rather that all life deserves mutual respect, despite the variety of different (lesser or greater) contexts that life flourishes within.

The study at hand provides empirical experimental data that deciphers the context of the Japanese “Great Tit” bird’s ten-note “language.” The entire study can be viewed HERE, including its methodology and data charts, which proves to be a true treat since most studies published today require a paid subscription to view in full.  

Syntax is a fundamental aspect of sociocultural interaction, and without it’s function, humans wouldn’t be able to understand written language, numbers, or symbolism of any kind. Additionally, a study published in 2010 demonstrated that human beings even use syntax to discern the orientation of their own actions, and other people’s as well. To quote the study at hand,

Linguistic theory holds that the structure of a sentence can be described in abstract syntactic terms, independent of the specific words the sentence contains. Nonlinguistic behavior, including goal-directed action, is also theorized to have an underlying structural, or “syntactic,” organization. We propose that purposive action sequences are represented cognitively in terms of a means-ends parse, which is a formal specification of how actions fit together to accomplish desired outcomes… Our results suggest that the structure of goal-directed behavior may be represented abstractly, independently of specific actions and goals, just as linguistic syntax is thought to stand independent of other levels of representation.”

Clearly, with the given data, the discovery of syntax in animal communication could have some significant implications that still have yet to be discussed by the scientific community.

Nonexclusive to language, syntax represents communication of information to the brain of a living organism; and in addition to writing, speaking, listening to music, and picking up on body language, many people hold the idea that the movements and aspects of the Earth and nature itself has its own syntax (something that can be considered as “God” but does not need to be).

This was what ancient western metaphysics called “Divination”, i.e. being able to decipher and understand the syntax of nature. In the East, aspects of divination are present in all philosophies, but the philosophy specifically oriented around divination is Taoism. Since ancient man, psychotherapist Carl Jung had popularized the idea of a syntactical nature with the notion of “Synchronicity” events. Since Jung, the idea of synchronicity phenomena has become a prevalent point in today’s alternative research field for its connection to ancient metaphysics and modern quantum physics. If animal communication has its own syntax, why should the ocean waves and wind not have some kind as well?

A final note: while some may be inclined to call the syntax of nature “God,” the empirical perspective would be that–similarly to the way a person translates the symbolism of their own dream–the use of the syntax would be the organism interpreting the information for its own understanding, therefore placing the syntax on the event, but making it no less pertinent or insightful. The fact of the matter remains that the theoretical syntactic event still could not have taken place without the objective phenomena. 

A truly fascinating study, this publication in Nature Communications just provides further context to what humans have been philosophizing about for thousands of years. For more information of the syntax of life, The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot is recommended and can be read in full HERE.


Anthony Tyler
A journalist and author from Anchorage, Alaska, Anthony Tyler aims to twist the knife in both phony new-age ideals and scientific materialism by drawing attention to the rich heritage of esoteric science throughout history. Far from being “satanist,” the esoteric (i.e. occultism or comparative religion) marks the beginning of mathematics, astronomy, psychology, medicine, and even politics. Esoteric science represents a cache of little-known knowledge detailing how to decipher the human's unconscious mind--and the unconscious mind is essentially everything that the human mind is not considering at any given moment.

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