Friday, April 13, 2012

The Magical Nature of Words

Writing is a form of solidified thinking. When you think a thought, unless you speak it to someone, it remains locked up in your own mind, invisible and intangible. But the moment you write it down, it becomes tangible, concrete and more real, perhaps even more so than the spoken word, whose message if not written down, may be as ephemeral as a passing breeze. The written word can be shared with millions of people. It can travel over vast expanses of time and space, surviving even your own death, surviving far away into the future. So the written word has longevity, a sort of immortality to it, where a thought may outlive the thinker.

How interesting words are. Probably one of the most noteworthy inventions ever. Where would we be without words, without language? What language would we have without words? Would instead are sole form of communication be through pictures, body language, pheromones, and touch? How about mental telepathy? If we could, how would we communicate telepathically without words? How is knowing dependent on words? Is there a certain knowing that transcends words and logic? Intuition? Is logic even possible without words or numbers? You may solve a logical puzzle in your mind, but without numbers or words, how would you communicate both the problem and the solution with others?

Without written language, human beings I think would still possibly be living like animals, like chimpanzees. So I think the invention of language, and specifically of writing, was probably the most decisive factor in contributing to the evolutionary advancement of the human race. Without language we would still be living like primitive cavemen.

What are words? A symbolic representation of reality. Words are formed by putting together strings of letters that are each associated with specific sounds. And each word represents a specific perceptual image, or value, whether concrete, representing something you can actually see and touch, or something abstract, representing values or ideas that exist purely in theory and abstraction, not having a concrete physical reality that you can actually see and touch. But the 'word' gives an abstract idea a sort of symbolic physical reality. Same could be said of numbers and musical notes. Same could be said of all symbols.