How Language Creates Disease

The human brain is wired for, and by, language.

It is how we get ideas from one mind into another. 

Our languages have separated us into discreet cultural bubbles that we often can not see past. 


Though most have shared roots,

cultural gaps tend to be greater between languages that diverged longer ago.


All of our knowledge about the world is contained in our languages.

Each word within a language gets its meaning from how it is used.

Every word you know is part of a network of associations wired into your brain.

Each language uses different networks of association.

This gives each language a slightly unique interpretation of life and the world.

35 words that can’t be succinctly translated

Language has given meaning to existence.

Though there is a limit to what we can express through language.

Names are a vital part of language.

We name things important to us.

Names can outlive their language, though their meaning often gets scrambled along the way.

Humans have the unique ability to name things that exist only in our minds.

Sometimes we create stories to explain these names.


Stories are powerful hallucinogens.

We understand our world, and ourselves, through stories.

A causal series of events that have purpose and meaning.

This leads to this leads to this.


However, as far as we know, this is not how our world really works.

Science is helping refine our languages.

It separates things that exist in the real world from things that exist only in our minds.


When we discover something about the world, our language grows.

But, even in science, we often give names to things before we have the insight needed to properly define them.

This creates problems because it is often not possible to prove something we have named does not exist.

This is particularly problematic in medical science.

We created names for diseases before we had the tools needed to accurately describe them.

Some of those names persist to this day.

And each disease has stories that connect the clues we do have to explain its existence.

Braak Staging (wiki)

Everyday people still get diagnosed with these imaginary labels.

And everyday scientists work to develop treatments for them.

Trying to solve puzzles that don’t exist.

That is the story of Brain Fables.

Coming soon from Cambridge University Press.

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