Here’s the thing about words

I don’t know if anyone else’s mind works like this. I’ve never been anyone else.

For me, words are anchors to thought. They nail down a concept or idea into easily definable parameters so that that concept can be shared. Sometimes it’s hard to be sure that the concept fits the parameters the words are forming, but so far the errors are manageable. Sometimes it’s hard to assemble the words to match the concept quickly enough to engage in conversation, but again, it’s manageable.

Thinking in words is nice. It’s the simplest way to engage with the world.

Words are communication. Those who can’t use them, or who use words in a language other than the one used by those around them, have difficulty getting their thoughts and needs across.

And words are fun. The way that “right” can mean either a direction or “correct” is amusing. The different connotations attached to words like “combat boots” can lead in dozens of fascinating directions. The different ways people use words, based on where they are from and what they have experienced, those are really cool.

But it’s not the only way to think. There are numbers. Colors. Line. Melody. Thinking in those is useful and exciting too. It can have remarkable results–creative works no words could make.

And sometimes I don’t use any of those to think, not words or color or number. Thinking without anything remotely like language to nail down the thoughts isn’t not-thinking. It’s just a different way of experiencing things. Once I was thinking in that way while fidgeting with a puzzle box no one in my family could figure out. I dismantled it in a few minutes, though I still am not sure how.


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