Imagine a world without words…

My daughter likes talking.

It’s actually more than that, whenever there is quiet she feels the need to fill the space with words. Occasionally she’ll sing, or hum, but more often she’ll talk – and talk – and talk…

My daughter would not know what to do in a world with no words, but then I’m not sure any of us can really imagine it.

How do you feel about this dystopian future?

There’d be no more homework, or junk mail, or unwanted flyers forced on unsuspecting passers-by.

No more books, magazines or newspapers – but how much would you miss them?

Without words on the internet we’d have more space for funny cat videos – but it would be harder to comment on them?

No more birthday cards, social media or instant messaging… The list just goes on.

What have words ever done for us?

It’s true that the world wouldn’t come to an end without words – there was a time before people made squiggles on rock to communicate. But the growth of societies all over the world has always depended on the development of language. And today’s global society has been shaped by our opportunities for communication across languages through technology.

There’s an interesting aside here… the growth of our audience and changes in technology have brought an old idea of communicating through pictures – but let’s face it, emoji’s will never be an ideal tool for creating a business plan, personal profile or website.

Whether we’re using words to introduce ourselves to our new global client, allocate chores to our family, or debate strongly with our neighbour in the pub – without a shared communication all of these things become much harder.

language writing

Using words to communicate our thoughts and feelings becomes second nature once we’ve learnt to speak and write. But the problem with that, is sometimes we don’t give those words as much thought as we should.

Think first

How often do you have an instinctive reaction and say something you wish you hadn’t? There are those of us who do that with the written word too, when we get emails and texts on our phone we then comment online for immediate impact. I know I’m not the only person who’s wished they could recall an email as soon as it was sent.

Our words can seem so easy, so essential, that we forget their power.

A world without words is – to me at least – some kind of hell. But by using words without thinking, we can create our own unbearable situation.

If we assigned the right value to the words we use every day and took care over their use – considering always the context and the audience – we could be confident that we were creating the message we want other people to hear.

And too much talking – like you sometimes get from smaller members of the family or companies whose social media plan aims for 20 posts a day – can become background noise, too easy to ignore.

I’m not going to think any more about this dystopia, better to create a world where words are valued and considered – I hope you agree.