From A conversation about the brain
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In the example discussed in the text, both parties know about a pond in a wood, but at that stage they can only see the wood.
In terms of the framework described here, language involves two people travelling along a similar path but with the motor output of the helix suppressed. Imagine two primates exploring their environment together, taking trips to the north, south, west and east from their home base, in each case travelling beyond the boundaries of what was visible from their starting point. The paths through sensory+motivational space for both individuals are likely to be similar but in this case no language is involved. Now imagine that they are back at home with one communicating to the other a planned route. One points to a wood that is visible and makes a symbol for water as both know that there is a pond in the wood. Then she points left. Both individuals need to know that this means left at the pond, not left from here, home. In other words, they both need to have travelled down the sensory+motivational path that is involved in getting to the (currently invisible) pond in order for the hand gesture ‘left’ to make sense. With this capacity to follow one another down sensory+motivational paths, without reproducing the original sensory input or motor outputs, language can take off.