Proactive language is the language spoken by people who take full responsibility for what happens in their life. People who deny the responsibility (partly or integrally) for what happens in their life speak reactive language.
$ But I’m not responsible for so many factors that determine my life so considerably.
$ Like what?
$ Like the fact that I was born a girl. That I was born in this very country. That I come from this very family. That I have these very genes.
$ Three things. Firstly, there are some philosophers and even religions that say with absolutely no doubt: we choose our gender, our birthplace, our family, our genes etc. before we come to this world. Eric Berne in his book “What Do You Say After You Say Hello?” quotes Panchatantra: These five are fixed for every man before he leaves the womb: his length of days, his fate, his wealth, his learning, and his tomb and paraphrases: These five are taken from your sires, six summers from the womb: your length of days, your fate, your wealth, your learning, and your tomb.
$ I don’t belong to sects like this. On the other hand, there are e.g. calvinists who believe that everything is determined by God and if God wants me to be a condemned criminal, I can’t do anything about it. It’s similar with karma: if I was born in the caste of riksha drivers, I will die as a riksha driver. The only thing I can do is to be the best riksha driver possible in order to be reborn in an upper caste.
$ My beloved Gandhi in his autobiography tells how in his student days in South Africa he became deeply interested in the Bible, especially in the Sermon on the mount. He became convinced that Christianity was the answer to the caste system that had plagued India for centuries, and he seriously considered becoming a Christian. One day he went to a church to attend Mass and get instructions. He was stopped at the entrance and gently told that if he desired to attend Mass he was welcome to do so in a church reserved for blacks. He left and never returned. Let alone the anecdote about Gandhi. Look at the contemporary India. A farmer can make a fortune cultivating his land and selling his crops and send his son to study medical science instead of making him be a farmer because he was born in a farmer’s family. We touched on a very delicate subject. There’s no scientific evidence in opinions about a religion. There’s faith. Either my faith can be blind, like a zealot’s or I can look for my own way towards God. God is love. Words can’t describe the experience of faith in God. Nevertheless, philosophical and religious systems are based on words. God invented the speech for us so that we can hide our thoughts.
$ That’s a good one.
$ Do you remember when your children were very small and couldn’t speak at all? How perfect was the communication at that time! One gesture saved 5 minutes explanations. One expression in the face saved 3 sentences while asking for things!
$ As a matter of fact, since we started using words I have been catching myself explaining to my children one thing round and round for the 10th time.
$ The very mother tongue brings much confusion in the communication. And how much inexact information is the result of working on a translated text? They say “plus elle est belle, moins elle est fidèle” – the more beautiful, the less faithful. I mean the translation.
$ So you are a specialist in something we can compare to relocating a pile of sand by the means of a rake.
$ That’s right. The further you go the deeper you get.
$ Add to this the brainsex and how it affects the language.
$ Yes, it motivates me to work on the language of the heart.
$ Language of the heart? Is it something similar to communicating with children before they start speaking?
$ Yes, it is. Telepathy, intuition, premonitions – that is in my opinion the language of the future. Coming back to our philosophical and religious thread. I was talking about looking for your own spiritual way and now I’m going to explain why it matters in the process of learning foreign languages. Well, we are lucky to be free people, to enjoy our free will, consequently we have a right to choose what it pays off to do, what serves our lives. Am I going to master a language if I am convinced that I am not capable of doing it due to my family, my genes or my gender?
$ It’s a rhetorical question. But even if I belong to the group you mentioned first (those who are sure they choose everything), every choice I make enables or precludes doing various following things.
$ If I chose something, e.g. the country I live in and I don’t like it anymore, I can move out.
$ Say that to the children in Somalia.
$ Somebody told me once: leave alone the children in Somalia. Instead, handle what sticks right in front of your nose and stinks.
$ Anyway, now I can’t change my birthplace and the fact that I was born in this country determined much of my experience and I’m not able to take it back. It’s behind my control.
$ That’s a good moment to come back to the 3 points I wanted to discuss with you when we started to analyze the chart ‘proactive and reactive language.’
$ The first one that was the philosophy.
$ And the second one is the AA “Serenity prayer”: God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which can be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
$ You contradict yourself: do you have influence or you don’t?
$ I definitely do.