Mutters and Murmurs: Hmm, Om, Yum, Um, Mmm-mm, Mmm, Mama

The first stage of language is the open-mouthed syllable — the dawn of comprehension – “Ah!” (or repeated) “A-ha!” which can also be an expression of triumph, the “Oh!” and “Ohh” of satisfaction, the “Huhh” of release, the orgasmic “Unhhh.”  These are all unconscious — they are the sounds of respiration — or more correctly they perform the non-conscious skeleton upon which the lights and wheels of consciousness are erected.  Because, and this is the fundamental fact of language, the original speaker of language was an animal, but the original comprehender was a human; Adam and Eve were suckled by beasts, and they understood what the beast wanted, (the beast that was their parent) and gave words to it.  The voluminous PRAJNAPARAMITA literature or perfection of wisdom receives its most succinct formulation in the single syllable “Ah!”

The second stage is preserved in our words “murmur” and “mutter” — a deliberate vibration of the incorrectly named “vocal chords” which are not chords at all, but a pair of lips.  These lips are a genital echo (what is not?) and like the genital the humms and buzzes of the laryngeal lips serve to form the deepier, squishier, riskier connections — where we stake our all and all on the love of another human being, although, it bears repeating that in the first instance, this being is an animal, and it is only the human infants comprehension of this buzzing that makes it human.

Because the “mm-hmm” of comprehension the “mama” of maternal love the “Om” or turiya or transcendent consciousness, the “mmmm!” of serotonic delight, the “um?” of apprehension all are mechanically the same.  The vocal chords are engaged, air passes over them and the lips open and close.

It is fair to say that all language is onamtopoeia and the notion of a word that doesn’t sound like what it is is a very late and etiolated development of human development indeed.  As we open and close our mouths, as we buzz and numble, and mutter, and murmur at each other, we recognize the Universal Mother, who is not the animal who birthed us but the possibility of speech itself.



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