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Language is a Tongue That Kisses Itself

lipsWe are hopelessly hypnotized by language. Call it language samadhi. Take the case of lips. There are no lips. First of all, “lips” are not two – “lips” are a lip. Open your mouth, look at it in the mirror: do you see one circular lip or two lips? The lip – the one that surrounds your mouth – is an uninterrupted element, just like the rolled up sleeve on your sweater. Second, this singular surrounding lip is not a stand-alone feature or stand-alone organ but the roll-out of the interior of your mouth. Sure, you can make an argument that I am splitting hairs. Alternatively, you can peel apart the veil of linguistic hypnosis that has us in a trance. We come up with categories, then we give them names, and then we orient ourselves towards these categories as if they were the one and only way of representing reality.

Read my lips: there is a reality outside of language and it’s just a tad different from the one that rolls off your tongue… Language – mind you! – is but a tongue that kisses itself.

Language is a Tongue That Kisses Itself

Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Pavel Somov, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice and the author of 7 mindfulness-based self-help books. Several of his books have been translated into Chinese, Dutch & Portuguese. Somov is on the Advisory Board for the Mindfulness Project (London, UK). Somov has conducted numerous workshops on mindfulness-related topics and appeared on a number of radio programs. Somov's book website is and his practice website is

Marla Somova, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the co-author of "Smoke Free Smoke Break" (2011).

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APA Reference
Somov, P. (2016). Language is a Tongue That Kisses Itself. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 May 2016
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