At my elementary school, when you rose to grade five, you were inducted to the fictional island of Foo. You learned their language and pastime sports, and near the end of the year you would compete with your peers to claim victory in each category. That was the first and only time I truly learned another language. All you had to do was add ‘INIG’ in front of every spoken vowel. Hinigellinigo, minigy ninigame inigis Jinigoe. It was really cool to have an understanding of a different mode of communication than the one you were raised with. Don’t get my educational system wrong though, I was taught French from grade four to nine, but it didn’t stick in the slightest. My theory as to why, aside from me not paying enough attention, was because their sentences are reversed. So aside from having to learn every basic word in their dictionary, you also had to learn how to form sentences in a completely different way than what your brain was automated to do.
Language is a trippy thing. Think of how you would form thoughts without it. Think about trying to understand someone else without it. It’s downright impossible. Babies want things but have yet to learn language, and look at how hard it is to find out what they want when they cry. Same with dogs. “What’s that, girl? Timmy’s stuck in the well?!” Our entire civilization depends on our ability to communicate thoughts to each other using the best means we have. Certain academics use the phrase ‘language game,’ when they talk about how we are all using words in society. Is there a possibility that in the future we will outgrow language for something more streamline like telepathy?
It is known that the German language has a word for almost everything. Whenever we, the English speakers, find ourselves unable to find the right words to express a feeling or idea, the best we can do is combine other words. It never quite works the same as having the right word. There is another phrase used when talking about potential advanced A.G.I. (artificial general intelligence) called a ‘black box.’ It is used to describe how we are all living now, never truly knowing what everyone else is thinking. Our only window into another individual’s mind is their own ability and… permission?- allowance- for us to bear witness of their raw thoughts. Otherwise we truly have no idea what is going on behind their eyes.
Now we must ask, what in the world would we as a species do in the unlikely event that aliens really visited Earth? Would we say hi? Hola? Salute? Would we attempt communication through Morse code? What if they only communicated through dance? Or in reversed meaning, where happy was sad and peace meant war? What if they only communicated through dreams, acting aberrant and uncooperative in waking life if you tried to do anything otherwise not talked about beforehand? Our brains formed solely through Earth’s evolution, from scratch. Alien life could have radically different minds if they even resembled Earth-like organisms.
Language is what built the life we have now. As a society, talking to each other built us up to being technologically advanced. It allowed collaboration of nations, democracy, infrastructure, and general stability. But just like the internet, language as a tool is a double-edged blade. It can grant us the best possible life in our individual situations, but it can also give us great pain. Sticks and stones may break my bones, AND words do also hurt me. It’s scary how effective words can hurt us. We have no ability to stop hearing things in front of us. Sound enters our ears and our brain computes it into meaning (if we know the language) and there’s nothing we can do about it. We have the ability to use our words for ill, or for good. It is up to us how we use it, and how we react.
With that in mind, I suggest we put in the effort, or attention, to use our words for better. Thank you again as always for reading. I love you all! And I’ll see you next time.