Words are simultaneously the most liberating and the most limiting aspect of our human culture. Through words we are able to convey to a degree our thoughts and emotions, portraying the experience of the individual and allowing for knowledge sharing across geography and generations–which has led to an incredible explosion of human development at every level.
Despite this, when attempting to transmit thoughts so that others may understand and enjoy them, people are limited to the words of the particular language(s) they are proficient in. In this way we are essentially forced to shave down the incredible complexity that IS being in order to fit it within the lexicon of our native tongue. As a result, the outrageous depth of sensations and emotions that make up everyday life get whittled from their truly indescribable state to a shell of their true gravitas, even for the most skilled linguist. There are situations so unique to each of us that any application of words never truly does justice to the author/speaker’s true reality–but in order to benefit from the freedom that language gives us to broadcast our world to those around us–we sacrifice a portion of the visceral, intimate experience that gave rise to the need to express it.
I find it interesting how a synonym for “word” is “term”. Etymologically, term comes from the Latin terminus meaning “end, boundary, limit” as we see with the words terminal and terminate. So when we apply a term to something–it is like we are putting the idea to bed…giving it a definite limit and removing the final traces of uncertainty and mystery about that which it describes.
This is why alternative forms of expression seem so crucial–whether dance, graphic art, music, or sex–people need to be equipped to communicate without words–on their own terms.